Five favorites from 2 weeks West

If you think of locations as paintings, the artist uses a slightly different color palette in each one. This is of course part of what makes places recognizable, some more than others – the combination of the color palette, mountainous or flat terrain, building styles or other context clues from the human environment. Waking up slightly disoriented the first day of this camp, I could look out the window and see the tan-brown grasslands, bright golden aspen leaves and greyish higher mountains that marked my location as in the West, particularly Utah.  Definitely not in Vermont anymore.

Several of my teammates and I are out in Park City, Utah for a 2 week training camp, which goes from October 17th – 30th. We’ve joined the US Ski Team for many of their sessions, since our camp coincides with theirs, but we’ve also had a few sessions on our own. It’s been a nice change of scenery, and valuable to train at altitude, but as with any camp there have been high points and low points.  Here are 5 of my high points from the camp:

  1. New roads to rollerski, new terrain. Even though I’ve been to Park City for summer or fall training camp on about 5 different occasions, there are so many roads and trails in the area that we always go somewhere new in addition to the old favorites. One of the best rollerskis was out past Wanship to Echo Reservoir, because there was beautiful new pavement, little traffic, it was a beautiful sunny day, and we saw 2 bald eagles. 
    Rolling out towards Echo Reservoir, somehow the only one wearing a pink shirt today. Photo: Pepa
  2. I saw my whole immediate family during the camp! All at once too! My parents drove over from Bozeman to visit, since Scott and I were both here for a training camp during the same week, and we ate dinner together twice. It’s been since last March that we were all in one place at the same time, so it was nice to have a moment together, even if brief. Of course we missed taking any photos together, so we’ll just keep the memories.
  3. We’ve had many quality training sessions, and it’s great to be able to ski and train with my own teammates in addition to other fast women from around the US. Unfortunately I did miss a few of the intensity sessions (more on that in point 5), but still I benefited from the big group and opportunity to ski and catch up with people.
  4. During the group training sessions there were encouraging signs that my fitness is good and that my tempo and speed is coming along. Rollerskiing is always difficult for me, and I’ve been having particularly bad commitment/fear-of-pavement issues in skate rollerskiing since we returned from our Austria camp on snow. Not that I’ve fallen or anything, I just want to see the fluffy white stuff under my feet not this unforgiving black stuff. Overall I have improved a TON since high school and college, with technique and agility/coordination on rollerskis, but high speed rollerskiing is still my weak point. In a classic speed session at Soldier Hollow (the 2002 Olympic venue, and upcoming 2017 Nationals venue), I was pleased to be able to hold my own against many of the other skiers in some speeds and to stride/run confidently and quickly. On Friday  when we competed in a skate sprint time trial, I can’t say the results were all that great, but it helped me start to get back in touch with the feel of racing. Also I felt that the whole experience of the time trial was positive because I had the mental fortitude to see that my technique was holding together well and there were many good notes, even if I wasn’t rollerskiing as fast as many of the others. Skiing is different. 
    A late afternoon double-pole on quiet country roads. Photo: Pepa
  5. My recovery from a minor cold was quick and relatively easy! I caught a little bug from over-doing the training midway through the first week, which was unfortunate, as I never like to miss training. But I backed off in time to encourage my body to recover quickly, with the help of lots of tea and vitamin C, so I was back to light training about 2 days after feeling unwell.  I find it important to teach myself how to recover, to minimize the stress of the situation, to enjoy the rest when it’s needed and keep a positive outlook on life even through a little illness. Plus it’s a good reminder going forward into the season that I need to be careful about my health… here we go, skier-germ-a-phobe outlook on life.

Kait, Ben and Mary zooming down through the aspens in the evening glow.

Looking ahead: I’ll be back to Craftsbury soon, for a week of tying up loose ends and carefully packing for my upcoming trip to Europe. On November 7th my teammate Ida, coach Pepa, and I will fly to Finland for a 2 week training and racing tune-up prior to the World Cup start on November 26th. Oh and during my week in Vermont, I’m determined to eat about as much winter squash as I can get my hands on… and that is a lot! Hopefully in all the packing and cooking chaos I’ll find some time to share a few of my squash food creations here. Until then, happy Halloween and hope you’re ready for November.

Green team lift tower climb near the top of one of our running routes.

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